USA Fencing Board of DirectorsOrganizational changes abound for US Fencing.

Greg Dilworth was introduced as the interim executive director for US Fencing at the July board of director’s meeting.

At the membership and congress meeting earlier in the week, Kalle Weeks announced that Kurt Aichele was removed as the executive director for US Fencing.  At the meeting no clarification was provided by the USFA president though various rumors flew about the building.  Mr. Aichele was not available for comment at or immediately after the meetings.

(For discussion of the board meeting, visit the forum thread here.)

Kalle Weeks
US Fencing President Kalle Weeks (S.Timacheff /

During the Board of Directors meeting, the congress decisions of board member elections and the passage of the USFA bylaws were entered into the record.

The board also recognized changes that were voted upon by the board via an email vote and entered into the record.  These included:
– One day memberships
– Creation of the NTOC (National Team Oversight Committee)

Repechage for Epee Events

The first large discussion was on the issue off including repechage from the table of 32 to 8 at Division I NACs.  The rationale was provided by the men’s and women’s epee national coaches that, in order to develop and field the best international teams that repechage was needed in order to prevent one tournament or lucky matchup from determining which fencers are able to travel to world cup events.

In the debate that followed, Matt Cox (the chair of the Tournament Committee) noted that the volunteer resources do not exist to support both repechage and team events and that future sacrifices will need to be made to accommodate the request for repechage.

What is Repechage?

Repechage is also known as “second chance” and refers to a method of running a tournament with double-elimination in the DE table.  What was proposed was repechage from the round of 32 to the round of 8.  What this means is that losers from the tables of 256, 128, or 64 are eliminated.  Once in the round of 32, any fencers who lose will go to a “losers’ bracket”.  The losers then fence off and those who lose a second match are eliminated.  Once the field is reduced to 8 fencers, the tournament moves back to single elimination from the round of 8 on.

The motion for repechage passed with a clear majority.

2011 Pan American Zonal Championships and New York World Cups

The United States is in a position to host the 2011 Pan American Zonal Championships, which could for double points in the FIE standings and could impact the ability of the United States to send fencers to the 2012 Olympics and would impact seeding for future events.

The budget question of the Pan American Zonal Championships quickly moved into a discussion of the New York World Cup.  As of the board meeting, the FIE had not provided formalized requirements for the World Cup and Team events.  It’s unknown if the FIE will require full replay and wireless capabilities for the event, but Greg Dilworth noted that if that is the case then US Fencing may not have the funds to fully support the World Cup event.

When questioned about the New York World Cup prior to the board meeting, Mr. Dilworth stated that he needs to see a plan in place to acquire the funding to hold the World Cup event and that the sales/marketing arm of USA Fencing would be responsible for selling the sponsorships necessary to cover the event.

The New USA Fencing Logo
USA Fencing - the new logo

The New USA Fencing Brand

Robert Weekes introduced the process by which the USFA is re-branding itself to “USA Fencing” which includes a new logo and treatments.  The main goals proposed in the presentation surrounded aligning USA Fencing with the USOC to gain support from USOC marketing efforts and to re-brand the organization from an organizational focus (USFA) to a focus on the fencer/athlete (USA Fencing.)

The new logo was unveiled to the board along with a time-line for style-guides, letterhead, American Fencing Magazine and apparel at the 1st NAC of the 2010 – 2011 season.

Introduction of Greg Dilworth; Clues to Kurt Aichele’s departure

Greg Dilworth
Greg Dilworth - Interim Executive Director USA Fencing (S.Timacheff/

Greg Dilworth (pictured, left) spoke on the state of the USFA’s finances and some existing (and new) contracts.  Mr. Dilworth pointed out that the USFA now is very reactive in nature and his goal is to move to being more of a process and project planned and policy oriented organization.  This would allow the USFA to take care of existing business with greater organization and allow the USFA to become more proactive.

Highlighting the statement of becoming more responsive to policies and process, Mr. Dilworth highlighted an existing contract that is an indication of why Kurt Aichele was no longer the Executive Director.  A vendor for the new online registration process (RailStation) had shown up to the Nationals to sign a long term contract with Kurt Aichele.  This contact was in violation of the Board’s policy of contract review (adopted at the February 2010 board of director’s meeting.)

In lieu of Board approval, Mr. Dilworth signed a short term contract with Railstation to allow them to provide the services that they are already set up to provide through the end of October.  During this time USA Fencing will start an RFP process to cover membership registration and renewals, tournament registrations, and tournament management.

US Fencing Finances

The bit of meat to be reported on before your intrepid reported left (after midnight), were USA Fencing’s finances.

Greg Dilworth, wearing the hat of former USFA Treasurer, stated that the organization has been on a positive financial track for the last two years.

Overall, tournament numbers are up and the costs are down, but the profits reported on the balance sheet include monies that have not been paid to referees.

The current amount owed to referees is approximately $267K and does not include the 2010 Summer Nationals.  Adding to the problem of paying referees is the “spiky” nature of revenues.  The USFA receives a large spike in revenue in August due to membership renewals and is planning on using that revenue spike to pay off the existing debt to the volunteer corps.

Mr. Dilworth stated a commitment to pay volunteers their owed monies by the end of USFA’s 1st quarter, which translates to the end of October, 2010.  Volunteers would next be paid honorariums in October 2011 for events from the 2010 Summer Nationals onward.

The current cycle of spending for the USFA projects that the qualification push for the London 2012 Olympic Games will eat up a large portion of funds and then the USFA would get to a positive balance sheet in the first year after to 2012 Olympics.

Photos by: S.Timacheff /

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Editor’s note: This article incorrectly reported that Steve Sobol was to chair the NTOC.  Mr. Sobol will be heading up a task force to look into and recommend any changes necessary to our harassment (particularly sexual harassment) policies and procedures.

Also, the article originally stated the Mr. Dilworth said that US Fencing would not have the funds to fully support the World Cup event if wireless and replay were required.  This was based on the assessment of the current finances but should have been clarified.  The text has been updated to reflect that US Fencing may not have the funds to fully support the world cup.  This is, of course, pending any changes to revenues.